Last Sunday, my friend Kelly and I and her two sons had one of our somewhat frequent "pancake parties." It's really nothing more than them coming to my house after church for homemade pancakes, but every occasion is more fun by adding the word "party" after it. And as has become our tradition, I always add chocolate chips to the pancakes, and the boys know to expect colorful straws for drinking their juice.
This past weekend, as I was buying supplies for the big feed, I got as far as the juice section and remembered that the boys each had a different favorite juice. With a guest list of just the four of us, our party certainly didn't need two bottles of juice. But so as not to disappoint either, I grabbed both orange juice and apple juice before leaving the store.
Later, when I mentioned the two kinds of juice, Kelly insisted that it was unnecessary to buy each boy's favorite. "They would still love you even if you didn't have their favorite," she said.
I started to feel guilty for trying to buy their love with bottles of squeezed fruit, but in that moment I realized that it wasn't their love that motivated the juice buying. It was mine. I knew they would still love me either way, but MY love for them compelled me to do the little extra.
Of course, buying juice has never been a sign of unfailing love in any culture, but it did strike me that this is a glimmer of God's love for me. He's not trying to win my affection or trick me into a relationship when he blesses me; he is motivated out of his own great love. And his demonstrations are extravagant.
As the days of Lent come quickly to an end, we will soon enter a season of reflecting on this deep love of God, the kind of Love that empties himself and humbles himself and sacrifices himself for others.
It's more than a two-bottles-of-juice kind of love.
It's more like a two-hundred-bottles-of-juice kind of love. With more where that came from.